The National Agri-Marketing Association

The nation's largest association for professionals in marketing and agribusiness

Official 2018 Student Chapter Marketing Competition Guidelines

April 11-13, 2018 
Kansas City, MO

The following guidelines are established to aid student chapters in assembling effective marketing campaigns that may be judged on an equal basis by a panel of agri-marketing professionals.  Each marketing campaign, presentation notes, and presentation should be developed by the students with minimal content creation from advisors.  Each accredited student chapter may enter one team in the competition. 

I.         MARKETING PROJECT CATEGORY 

 Here are the specific factors that must be incorporated into your marketing competition project. 

1.       Products must be an agricultural product/commodity or service.  An agricultural product/commodity or service is defined as one that is a direct input for, or output of, an agricultural application, marketed with a clearly demonstrated objective of improving producer income or productivity.  This producer benefit must be demonstrated and described within both your written and oral presentation. 

2.       Your plan must emphasize value-added differentiation, utilizing marketing techniques to increase the value of an existing product/commodity or service.  

3.       The product/commodity or service you select must assume that you are operating in an established market with a primary objective being the displacement of major competitors to gain market share.           

NOTE:  Product approval requests must be submitted on the approval form (on pages 25-26) or online and sent to Debbie Brummel, NAMA Careers Competition Liaison, at debbieb@nama.orgSchools are required to submit their chosen products for approval to ensure it qualifies.  Product approval forms can be submitted at any time prior to the deadline.  The deadline for submitting product approval requests is February 1, 2018.  Feedback will be given within five business days.  Teams who fail to submit a product approval form by the February 1 deadline will not be eligible for the marketing competition. 

          Any changes to the product following approval must be re-submitted.  If changes occur after the executive summary deadline, a new/revised summary cannot be submitted.  Rather, the team can hand out an addendum during its presentation. 

The product/commodity or service you select: 

          Should be assumed to have great potential that-- marketing-wise  -- has yet to be developed.  Hence, your assignment is to design a plan  that will make this product/commodity or service a profitable proposition. 

          Should be assumed to have unique properties and/or attributes differentiating it from the competition which -- through your marketing  plan -- will be outlined to your customer as the “potential profit” reason and/or benefit derived for use of your product/commodity or  service. 

           May be marketed regionally, nationally, or internationally. 

May be real or conceptual; however, citations and references must be accurate.  To ensure the academic integrity of executive summaries and live presentations for the student marketing competition, please be sure to properly cite references, using Associated Press (AP) style, for information that is directly quoting or paraphrasing sources other than your own work.  (Citing Google as a citation source is not acceptable – you are expected to follow the style guide.  AP Stylebooks can be purchased very affordably at your campus bookstore or via an online subscription at www.apstylebook.com.)  You may cite sources within the text of your executive summary or use footnote citations.  A sixth page may be added as a "Works Cited" page.  Any content on this page other than citation will result in a points deduction. For live presentations during the student marketing competition, references may be mentioned during the presentation and also should be noted on audiovisual materials, such as PowerPoint slides, as needed.  All references to external sources must be accurate and real.  Advisors and students are responsible for ensuring the validity of references.  Additionally, judges reserve the right to fact check any or all references cited within your executive summary and live presentation.  The penalty for falsifying information is at the judges’ discretion, up to and including disqualification from the competition. 

The product, commodity or service that you are marketing must operate under a fictitious name for all aspects of this competition.  This includes both the company/manufacturer name and the product brand name; however, existing names or trademarks may be used for competitive products. The Careers Committee reserves the right to investigate all brand names and may reject any product that uses an existing trademarked brand or product name for this competition.

II.        MARKETING PLAN SCOPE - Design your plan within these suggested general parameters. 

 A.             There are no restrictions to the geographic regions of your marketing plan. 

            B.      You should work with a 12-month marketing time span, even if your product/commodity or service is marketed seasonally.  You should  decide if your plan is based on a calendar or fiscal year and adapt all marketing factors to this annual cycle. 

            C.      You must show financial evaluation and justification for a three-year time period.  Sales projections, payouts, operating costs, etc., should be  addressed in this three-year time frame. 

 D.      Set your own realistic market situation and objectives -- sales volume, market share, effective competition, distribution channels, capacities,  anticipated profit or losses, etc. 

 E.       Draw up realistic profit/benefit-oriented goals for your marketing plan and justify your goals and objectives. 

 F.       Explain how you measure pre-existing conditions and monitor or evaluate results. 

 G.      Your marketing plan is aimed primarily at generating and maintaining sales/service to your customers, increasing market share and building awareness among people that are influential in the purchase (i.e., lenders, county agents, vocational-ag instructors, media and other influencers).         

NOTE:  There will be a point deduction if the product and plan do not fall within the guidelines. 

III.      EXECUTION - Your marketing plan will be evaluated through the Executive Summary and your live presentation. 

A.      Executive Summary 

1.               Your Executive Summary report can be no more than five pages, plus an optional works cited page and cover sheet that identifies your school and project name.  Any more than that will result in a penalty.  An audience Profile page is NOT required and including it as a separate page or putting it on the back of the cover page will result in a page violation with points deduction.

          Your report should be a professional presentation.  All of the key information presented in the marketing plan should be highlighted in a clear, concise form.  Remember, this will be the only document the Preliminary and Finals judges receive before they see your live presentation, so the Summary must be able to stand on its own.  Semi-Finals judges do not receive the written Executive Summary.  Teams can provide their individual summaries to the judges at their discretion.  Be sure that your school is identified on the cover sheet.  

          Judges are not impressed by “summary reports” that use narrow margins and spacing, or small typefaces, to allow for excess information. 

2.               DEADLINE:  Email a .PDF of your Executive Summary to: Debbie Brummel,  debbieb@nama.org. The .PDF of the Executive Summary must be emailed and must be RECEIVED BY March 15, 2018You will receive confirmation of receipt within 24 hours.  If you do not receive confirmation, it is your responsibility to contact Debbie.  Judges will deduct 5 points per business day for late entries in the preliminary round. 

3.               Failure to observe any of the above Executive Summary Guidelines will result in a 10-point penalty. 

HINT:  The Executive Summary should be developed after completion of the marketing plan. 

B.              TEAM NAMA (optional, chapter’s choice to participate) 

1.      TEAM NAMA offers your chapter an additional opportunity for a professional review of the Executive Summary prior to the submission deadline.  Chapters should submit information electronically for TEAM NAMA.  Please email BOTH a Microsoft Word document (not locked) as well as a .PDF document to allow any reviewer to have access.  You should email your information no later than noon CST, February 1, 2018, to:  Debbie Brummel, debbieb@nama.org.  You will receive confirmation of receipt within 24 hours.  If you do not receive confirmation, it is your responsibility to follow up.  In your email submission, please include your school name in the subject line and a contact name and phone number where you can be reached if questions occur.  

2.      In order to set up an adequate number of reviewers for TEAM NAMA, we ask teams to indicate preliminary intention to participate. Advisors will receive an email in mid-November asking about intention to participate. This is certainly non-binding, but will enable the committee to recruit enough reviewers ahead of time.

Please allow three weeks for review by two NAMA members and for return to your chapter. 

C.      Live Presentation (see room layouts following this section)

All teams in the final round must use a handheld microphone to aid the taping of the finals competition. 

1.       The live presentation of your marketing plan must be delivered in no more than 20 minutes.  You will lose 5 points at 30 seconds over and for each 15 seconds thereafter.  You will be cut off at 22 minutes.  The time begins when presenters arrive at the front of the room, face the judges and the first presenter begins speaking. 

2.       Your team consists of as many members of your student chapter as you wish.  They must be registered student NAMA members and full-time students in good standing with the university or college.  Your advisor may assist the presentation in a “behind-the-scenes,” non-speaking capacity only (i.e., running the slide projector).  Graduate students may assist in the development of your plan, but are not allowed to serve as presenters. 

3.       If you use handouts in your presentation, make sure you have enough copies for at least three judges in the preliminaries round, three in the semi-finals round, and five in the finals round.  Copies for the audience are not permitted.

4.               Design and focus your presentation as if you were addressing key decision makers with no knowledge of the product.  Assume that product development has done its job and the product has been approved to go to market.  Your job is to market it.  Suggestion:  Present your live performance in a practice session to members of your sponsoring professional NAMA Chapter -- get their suggestions and helpful hints!         

5.               Your presentation may include visual aids as well as audio aids.  Scoring will be based on how effectively aids are used, not on how elaborate they are. 

6.               You must provide, set-up and take-down any audio/visual equipment (including your own projector) used in your presentation.  (No equipment other than that noted on pages 23 and 24 is provided.)  Further, each team will be allowed only 5 minutes to set up before its 20 minute allowance begins and 2 minutes to reset the equipment as they found it. 

7.               Ad/promo materials and/or literature need not be developed beyond the initial “sketch” or “storybook” stage.  Taking ad/promotional material to the final stage of production is expensive and unnecessary. 

8.               The judges will ask questions to clarify points in your presentation when you finish.  The question period will last no longer than 5 minutes during the preliminary rounds, 7 minutes during the semi-final rounds, and 10 minutes during the final rounds. Your answers and handling of questions could directly affect your score in the written and live presentation.  Be prepared! 

Immediately following all presentations, the judges are allowed a two-minute period to prepare questions. 

9.               You must remove all props, samples and exhibits that may have been used in your presentation or shared with the judges at the conclusion of your presentation.  (This does not include a copy of the Executive Summary or any revisions to the Executive Summary that were handed to the judges.) 

10.           An emergency equipment failure time-out of five minutes is allowed one time during the 20-minute presentation. 

11.           NOTE: Judges’ decisions are FINAL. 

IV.      COMPETITION ARRANGEMENTS 

The student orientation for the competition will be held at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 10, 2018.  Teams may sign up for available practice rooms on Tuesday (email Jenam@nama.org to reserve a time).  Each team is allowed 1 one-hour practice slot and should be considerate of other schools’ practice times. Teams should only be present in the competition rooms during their designated times.  

Preliminary competition begins on Wednesday morning, April 11, 2018.  Each team competes in one of six heats.  The previous year’s semi-finalists are randomly seeded into each of the six preliminary heats.  All other teams will be assigned by random selection.  The top two teams will be selected from each heat and advance to the semi-finals. 

The semi-finals take place from 12:30 – 3 p.m., Wednesday afternoon, April 11, 2018.  There will be three groups of semi-finalists.  Each group will consist of four teams.  Semi-final heats will be assigned randomly.  Two teams from each group of semi-finalists will advance to finals.  Preliminary critiques will be held that afternoon from 3-4 p.m. 

The finals will be Thursday afternoon, April 12, 2018.  The top six semi-final teams will compete for first through sixth positions.  Finalists will present to a panel of five experienced judges; and the results will be announced at the student awards ceremony that evening.  Practice times will be assigned to the six competing teams for the morning of April 12.  THE ROOM WILL BE KEPT LOCKED WHEN IT IS NOT IN USE FOR THESE PRACTICES. 

As a way to reward the students for their hard work, the name of the winning team will be recognized during the closing general session in an announcement to the professionals. 

V.        MARKETING PLAN CRITERIA AND JUDGING FORMAT 

A.      Judges are carefully selected from the agri-marketing profession with an attempt to ensure that several areas of expertise are represented on each judging panel. 

B.       Points are assigned from the written executive summary and your live presentation in the first round and the finals round.  Semi-finals are scored on live presentation only.  Judges’ comments, whether written or oral, are simply general suggestions that might be pertinent to your plan. 

C.             The judging criteria and point system can be accessed here. 

D.             Judges’ decisions are final. 

Preliminary and Semi-Final Round Room Layout and Check List 

Finals Round Room Layout and Check List


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